Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science. Show all posts

Friday, January 8, 2016

Tinker Box from Kiwi Krate: Review and savings code

FYI: before reading this post...please know that I was not asked to write a review of the product, or paid for this opinion of it. We simply enjoyed it, and want you to know it exists. We didn't until recently-and it would have been nice to know! We actually procured the kit while they had a free trial offer going. Since that has ended, I wanted to share with you a link at the bottom of the post, which you can click that will get you $10 off your first order!  Plus it helps us-meaning we get a $10 credit for every purchase made using our link.  Then you yourself can sign up and receive the same bonuses!  It's a win-win deal!  


I am always on the look out for fun activities to add to our regular school work-especially projects relating to science or STEM activities. So when I noticed that Kiwi Crate [via the Krazy Coupon Lady site) was hosting a freebie trial (well, I paid for shipping) I jumped on it. Glad I did too-because I believe I was one of the last ones to secure a kit before they ran out.

They had really quick shipping, so within a week my son received his surprise package. "Surprise" because his loving mother chose to not tell him about it.  Anyway-back to the Tinker Crate.

I assumed it was going to be one of those listed on the site since no other kits were mentioned, but they actually sent the Fiber Optic Stars project.  After he was over the initial shock of getting something cool in the mail, he dove in. But not before I begged him to wait until I grabbed my camera first. You know, once a scrapbooker/blogger, always one. Of course I had to document this "unboxing reveal" before it was spread all over the place. He even got a kick out of that part.

Anyhoo-the neat thing about this (I chose the 9-16+ Tinker Crate for him) is that it provides all the necessary goodies to complete the listed projects.  They also have an additional booklet called the Tinker Zine, noting some fun experiments too, along with some info about the said subject.

The instructions came on a large fold out sheet with clear steps to follow.  It was not overly difficult and the results were really impressive.  I am going to pick up another sheet of foam board, so my son can make all the constellations highlighted in the kit (it came with two boards); and we may even try to create a few of the others ones not mentioned.

He really enjoyed this activity and I have to admit-it is awesome looking when you light it up in a dark room.  I really think this will help him recognize some of the constellations without much effort too. And that is always a plus. And for extra learning fun, they also have videos relating to the kits on their site.

As for the cost-the site currently lists them as $19.95 per month [I believe this is the one where you don't have to prepay but you will be charged every time one ships], the others are prepay first: $60 for a 3 month sub, $110 for 6 months, $205 for the year. The shipping is included for the subscriptions, but it looks like individual purchases of a featured crate has a fee to ship. As for us, we decided to suspend the subscription right now, simply because it is not in our budget. Altho, we can re-activate that at any time. I highly recommend you go through their site to see if this is something your family would enjoy and can afford. And don't forget to use the link below to get $10 off your first order.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Science: Geology Notebooking Activity

I have a fun idea to share.  You don't need to be doing a full blown geology study to do it either.  Just a few goodies and some kids who enjoy such things.

Mineral Experiment Activity  

Supplies Needed

Scale that can accurately measure lighter weights
-think below an ounce- 
(My son used our good postal scale)

Mineral Kit
(they also sell a rock kit too)

Several minerals you have about, a nail and a streak plate

Pencil, eraser, color pencils, glue stick

Ruler with centimeters on it

 Experiment worksheets from the Crafty Classroom


Basically the student works thru the listed activities on the worksheet to figure out different qualities/traits of the mineral. My son truly enjoyed this activity.  I hope your student(s) will too. Be sure to have them place their worksheets into a binder/notebook or little booklet.  

The Crafty Classroom has a very detailed post on how to set up fun activity stations for exploring rocks/minerals. Actually, I was so excited to come across this site.  There are lots of great ideas to help you homeschool.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Nature Study Materials and Ideas Video

I posted a video on YouTube highlighting the main books and materials we use for our nature study. I wanted to be sure to link it for you. I have a few posts regarding nature study here on the blog too, but thought a video would be a fun way to see it. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Supply Tote for Nature Study in the field

I was shocked that I didn't have a post highlighting the tote that we carry our nature study art supplies in.  Well, I may have had one but may have failed to transfer it before I closed down my Charlotte Mason blog.  So after filming that area of the classroom, I figured I best get an info/link post up on it.

Let it be said that I do not get paid by any of these companies (say for Amazon), altho I should.  I do have my Amazon Affiliate links for those items found there, and you can read more about that disclaimer at the bottom of the blog.

Nature Study Tote Box Supply List:

You can put whatever supplies you'd like in your tote-
this is just what we use the most.  


The price has gone up a bit since I bought these
 but they are worth the money-very sturdy!
And you can always re-purpose them later.
Otherwise, look for totes that have
a secure top/lid and are not flimsy.
USE your discount coupon!

Magnifying glasses/compass/etc.:

our Optic Wonder is by Navir but I see it is hard to come by now.
These companies make the exact same thing.


Small sliding magnifying glass from Dollar Tree

Art Supplies:

through Joann, Amazon and other art stores

General Pencils Drawing Kit 12 pc set 

Prang Watercolors 8 ct
Prang Watercolors 16 ct
or any school supply section of your local store

Assorted Paint Brushes-15 ct

Paint cup
I bought mine years and years ago from ??
But I know you can usually find them by
the paint palettes in the art section
of most supply stores.
Otherwise, a plastic cup or old food dish works too

Prismacolor pencils 12 ct
Prismacolor Verithin pencils 12 ct
USE YOUR JoAnns/Michaels COUPON to help save $$
if purchasing from there

3 pk white erasers (from Dollar Tree?)

Micellaneous Items:

pretty much any store
*smaller ones with a sharper point work nicely for
older kids so that they can snip specimens, etc.
Obviously, blunt points are best for younger kids

look at your local dollar stores for these
our plastic one came from one of those giant magnifying
glasses and/or a bug kit from the Dollar Tree

Pencil sharpener
check the school supply area and esp. the dollar store

Tree Identifying Cards
Cards by thesnailstrail on Scribd

Paper towel or other absorbent cloth

Small pack of baby wipes/Wet Wipes
great for cleaning off that sticky residue from plants
and or to clean their hands/paint off

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Geology Notebooking Ideas

We finally were able to start our Geology and Archaeology series.  Since we had such a late start-I decided to do the Geology first (it has less chapters) so we could finish by the end of this year.

I simply glued then taped (the cover is soft not the cardboard like other Mead Composition notebooks) the label to the front.  Then we started notebooking.  I find some of the material on the internet, or from a book or have him simply draw/write what is needed.

I am using the teacher's guide to simply see what their worksheets were asking the student to cover. I am not much into worksheets as much as I am lapbook components, small diagram pictures and such. I find my son actually becomes more engaged when I have him doing a lot of the work himself or by having him color/cut and place smaller snippets of data.

There is enough space to have him do both units so I will simply add a tab to the point of where the archaeology starts.

Being creative and finding different components does take time (lots of Pinterest and basic Googling) but the results are worth the effort.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nature Study: Goldenrods

A fun late summer time nature study activity. 
*Be aware of insects that are attracted to these. 
I think I remember seeing lots and lots wasps around them. 
When we started our study [we were going to do this for our co-op group lesson but the day was cancelled so my kids and I did this activity alone], we did some research and read through the story the On One Flower by Anthony D. Fredericks [got thru the library]. It is geared for pre-K through about 3rd grade level but it has great artwork and is a good intro book, so it should it work for most situations. I actually didn't find too many stories relating directly to the Goldenrod-so this was the best I could do.  We then moved to the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock.  We read pages 503-506 and did lesson 132 noted in this section.

Essentials:  Tool kit [they each have their own-I just took a pic with one] with all the goodies: magnifying glasses, paints, pencils, tweezers, erasers, and so on. It was early Oct. when we did this so the flowers were moving into the end of their season,so there were not many fresh and full flowering Goldenrod to collect.  But we only need two-so we were happy with that and put them into the flower press to have for their notebook page.

The kids' field study sheets. 

You can see the obvious difference between a 10 yr old and a 17 yr old's work.  I do not require the younger kids to get too detailed, unless they choose to do so.  They both still had to add the Latin names, and the boy needed to add a poem to his page when I took this picture but it gives you an idea of what you should aim for.  Once they had added some color to their flower and had done the other noted things, they went into their Nature Study binders.  I also brought along my camera to take some nice color pictures.  You could also just print a few pics and have your child glue those into their notebook page. This is a great option for children with low frustration thresholds or for those who are young/have dexterity issues.

Goldenrod in the field

look at that ugly bug!  

Nature study: Rocks and Gems

Please Note: I have updated this post that originally was posted on my Charlotte Mason blog.

A year back we used the Considering God's Creation program for my son's science. When we covered the Rocks and Gems section, I used the following books and resources to cover this unit.

So in true CM fashion, we set up an area for displaying our rock collection.  It was very easy to get a collection going [we live in a sub that was built on an old gravel pit so the rocks are literally everywhere] which was fun to display. The egg carton [I switched to the clear egg cartons so we could label them and still see what we had] served as a nice tote for the rocks which kept them organized and in one place.

 *all books are from the library, and you need a big variety due to there being so many rocks-the cross reference is necessary. Unless you have a geologist/petrologist in the family. The elephant carving was a gift  :) but that is soapstone, so it counts.
There are only a couple of these pages from the Considering God's Creation student workbook. I made copies [permissible as noted in the front of the guide] as I wanted the boy to do quite a few pages to document more of the rocks we found.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Teaching Science: Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day Notebook

Apologia Textbook: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day
Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day Notebooking Journal
images from 
Usually I copy and create notebook pages to supplement our science but this year, knowing our schedule-I ended up purchasing the notebook that is specifically designed to complement the textbook.  It has been a God send!  I mean it.  I have found that I am no longer spending huge amounts of time searching for material or creating go-along pages/activities, and I don't need to come up with lapbook components either! Granted, some of the activities we have skipped (which is quite alright in my opinion) but for the most part has been a seamless way to further implant the lessons into the Boy's head.

Some page examples:

lapbook: flip book activity

The lapbook components (included in back of notebook to pull out to create as needed) are very colorful and nicely done.  Talk about saving cash on printing!  Whew. 

Anyhoo-we're truly enjoying this so far and I am super happy I bought the notebook to go along with the next text we'll be doing (Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day).  I also greatly appreciate the little schedule that comes in the notebook.  It really helps me stay focused and keeps me accountable-which is always a good thing.  Not sure if you have tried these, but if you are debating them-like I did for a time-I strongly suggest giving them a try.  :)

Now I did not receive a thing for my opinion here-notta.  I bought these puppies and just wanted to share a good thing to my readers. But hey-Apologia, if you are reading this, I would love to write a review for another of your science notebooks/text after we're done with the Swimming Creatures one...cough, cough.  :)  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Samples of activities for zoology using critter replicas, labels and control cards

We're going to be covering birds and insects and swimming creatures this year for science. I have always enjoyed activities that help reinforce the lessons by using fun little goodies to do so.  Being that I have a Montessori background, and love the Charlotte Mason method-I try to combine the best of both worlds when I can.

image from the Safari Ltd. site

So I found (like why didn't I take a closer look at these before? Really? I am not happy with myself for walking right past these little gems for some time now-OY!) Safari Ltd. Toobs.  These containers hold a nice amount of critters, or people or flowers or well-known landmarks that can easily be tied into most lessons. One can use them for map work, science activities, matching lessons, and more.  So my goal is to collect the Toobs we need for our year. I should have all or at least most of them bought before Oct/Nov.  I am of course, focusing on the immediately needed ones first.  I have already purchased both the backyard birds and the exotic birds sets.  Being that I hate paying full price, and the couponer in me demands this-I gathered up my 40% and 50% coupons for JoAnns to save a few bucks-which I could use b/cuz they were not on sale. JoAnns has them for around $9 something and so I was able to get one for about $5 ish and the other around $6ish.  I will continue to use the coupons until I have all the sets I want :)!

image from the Safari Ltd. site

Thankfully, on the Safari Ltd. site, you can click the image to see what is included. If you ctrl/prt sc then go to MS Paint (if you have such programs) you can cut/trim it and then save it to put onto MS Word to create a control card for your activity.  I enlarged one kinda big (for youngers to place the actual bird onto) but it kinda fuzzed the wording. So I also shrunk it to a better size (as a control card for my son) that isn't so bad. I also used the MS Word to create name cards as well.  I then printed and laminated for long term use.

I then will put it on the tray (as pictured, but I am going to paint it white) when we get to those chapters in science.  It is just a kinda fun extra thing for my son to do to stave off boredom.  For the younger set-it is a great activity (very Montessori) to help learn the different birds (or whatever critter you want to study). The basic deal is that the student takes the word card and matches it to the right bird.

I will also be purchasing the N.A. animals and the river ones too.  I need that snapper from the river set to use along the Minn of the Mississippi book (BFB geography). Figured we would have fun occasionally moving the turtle down the great Mississip (with our sense of humor I am sure it'll be interesting) map that he fills in/colors as he goes thru the chapters. And it'll serve as a great replica of what a real one looks like. Mind you-he's already had fun poking at a snapper or two when his dad and him have been out and about on their walks. He knows a snapper and understands just why it is called one. That said, because this is one critter you do not want to handle for real-this is a great option to have! LOL.  Plus, I can pull a lot of those animals from the river set for our history study of the expansion west (in the US) that we're tagging into our Calf. history (by BFB).  Once I get a fun set together for that-I will be sure to post.

The beauty is you can create what you need. 

I also printed off a free coloring page of a snapper to use to teach turtle parts.  He covered that way back when he was in Kindergarten but obviously, it's been a while and why not revisit it?  So I will the laminated pic, some Vis-a-Vis markers and a control card (still need to create) that he can use to remember them. He'll just use different colors for different parts. I will also make an actual turtle control card with the correct areas labeled so he can self-check it.  I will probably do it for the Seagull one I have when we do the book, Seabird.  I have to go thru the Apologia notebooking wkbk I bought to go along with the Zoology 1 I have. If they don't do that-then I will create one.

This is just a simple idea that can create a fun, integrated 'accessory' for your  student's learning experiences. Think outside the one-dimensional when you are looking for different ways of teaching and you'll be surprised at what you find!

**the Toobs use the correct names for most of their sets, which is good b/cuz I prefer the child learns the right name of an animal. For the younger kids, you can get away with saying "bird" or "flower" but it does help significantly if you label it as it should be-their specific name.  I will also make cards with the Latin names for my son to match up because when we do our nature study notebooks (CM way), we always add that and I want to be sure to provide another opportunity for him to learn them.

**I am not an associate for these companies-altho I should be LOL. Just wanted to share what we have found to be very useful for our lessons.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rose Dissection

So my precious husband gave me a lovely red rose for Valentine's Day.  But alas, it is now crumbling and so-being the clever homeschooler I try to aspire to be (but fail to be actually, a lot of the time), we are going to dissect it today.  Yes-my rose will have served two purposes. One as a token of love and affection-the other as a great botany specimen.  So the table has been set with the goodies needed to disassemble it so the boy can see the parts of the plant we have been learning about for the last several weeks.  Since it is winter here, finding plant life to investigate has been a challenge. Thanks to Valentine's Day-we're going to have a real live, up close and personal view of a flower and its seed boxes, stamen, pistols, dust bags, etc.
Of course, the boy will be drawing what he finds in his plant book we have created for this study.

Using the ebook: Plant Life in Field and Garden by Arabella Buckley (thru the Yesterday's Classics collection which I reviewed a few years back-you can read about that program here), we have discovered a lot of interesting facts and along with the study notes provided in the Heart of Dakota program for the Creation to Christ program, this is shaping up to be a fun study.

Hey, if you are interested in the Yesterday's Classics, they have a sale going on until February 28, 2013 at half off! That is an awesome price for all those books!  I use it all the time-and I don't have an eReader, but just have uploaded the free Kindle PC app to my computer.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ancient Greece and Archimedes study continued

As previously noted, we are moving through the Heart of Dakota study: Creation to Christ. We're currently up to our laurel leaves in ancient Greece.  Here are some notes and projects on what we have done these past few weeks. I put the name of the study in ( ) for those who are new to the abbreviations.


images from
With HOD (Heart of Dakota) we have been able to substitute a few of the suggested books under the historical reading area.  I came across the Magic Tree House books (again-I sorta forgot about them but my older kids liked them way back when) and found they have one devoted to the Olympics/ancient Greece. I reserved it through our local library and also found they created an additional book to go along with it to give more info on Ancient Greece! Score. So These two books served as our mystery book selection.  If you decide to use these two just look for them via your library or maybe you already have them on your shelves. It was not a difficult read or challenging to say the least, but the additional info book served to rehash what he was learning throughout the study itself.  [They are: Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborne and Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #10: Ancient Greece and the Olympics]


Sorry it is blurry. I found this idea via a MOH (Mystery of History post...sorry not sure where it is tho...). Basically the student colors with yellow crayon a wide area all over the paper. Then colors over it with black. This is the tricky part-if your paper is not higher grade, when you etch, it will rip or not work right. So anyway-yellow then black over. Press very hard to get a nice thick coat of black. Then etch out a vase shape, and then design.  We tried many things and found-get this...the Pampered Chef scraper tool to work the best. I know-go figure.  If you don't have one, try a sculpting tool used for clay projects or Play-Doh (seriously, check your kids stash) or an edge of something sharp but not dangerous.  They will get that black shavings everywhere so I had the boy do it over a spread out sheet or two of newspaper.  Messy.

He decided on an octopus and waves for his. We had a book open with various pics showing different art/vases found from that era.  The people [very popular theme] would have been too complicated so the four legged [must have been in an accident or something and lost a few limbs] octopus made the cut (or in this case 'etch'). Be careful about what books you use.  I keep thinking of the movie The Birdcage.  I silently chucked when thinking back on that moment in the movie when the dude's dad and his mate had the table set with their dishes that were Greek inspired (cough...dudes playing 'leapfrog' not).  Yah. Go thru the material first unless you want to explain how the Greeks were very, very free with some things.  I found these books to be safe enough [some may want to cover a few images if they seem a bit too racy]...and again-got them via the library:

Product Details
The Nature Company Discoveries Library:  Ancient Greece  
(this is a Time Life book and shows no official author)

Product Details
 Uncovering History: Everyday Life in Ancient Greece 
by Cath Senker
(images from

We did an experiment found in the Science Projects Ideas in the House by Robert Gardener.  This is noted as a part of the BFB HOS (Beautiful Feet Books History of Science)  program that I am piggy backing with HOD.  I didn't think it would work but it did. 

I spotted this beauty on Ellen McHenry's site some time ago, then had to wait til we were into the Greece study.  Just look under the free downloads icon, then Geography/Maps.  You can find some ancient China, Rome and Japan stuff there too. This does take a lot to print so be sure your ink and paper levels are good to go.  This is fun once you get the hang of it.  Dad, the boy and I managed our way thru it by mostly guessing, but learned along the way. And he was getting (well us too) some geography lessons in there too. Score again. 

And there you go.  Some more ideas on studying Ancient Greece.